MSNBC Panel Speculates Vague NYT Story Shows Barr Pushed ‘False Information’ on Mueller Report

For MSNBC on Wednesday, the mood was ebullient as, thanks to an extremely vague, wrathful, and anonymously-sourced New York Times piece (later confirmed to The Washington Post) that unknown Mueller probe members have complained to “associates” that Attorney General Bill Barr’s characterizations of the Mueller report’s findings are somehow incorrect. 

On Hardball, the closing panel gloated as if all options are back on the table because Barr and the President might have conspired to put out “false information” to hide “amazing information.” What information? Based on the last two years, it’s that Trump obstructed justice and that he and/or those in his orbit colluded with Russia.

 

 

“A bombshell of news from The New York Times tonight on the Mueller report....[T]his is amazing. Now it comes out that what a lot of us suspected, I’m sure you did too, Mueller had more to say than Barr wanted us to hear,” host Chris Matthews stated to camera hog and Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

Matthews then ignored Barr’s multiple letters insisting that Mueller’s been repeatedly consulted on his decisions, falsely claiming that Barr “put [out] a quickie weekend version of their 400 page report before the American public which shaped public opinion” that “wasn’t the right shape that Mueller intended the public to get.”

Former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner appeared heartened to find that, according to The Times, his rampant speculation could bear fruit (click “expand”):

You know, FBI agents are usually vault-like in their refusal to step outside their lane and talk about a pending investigation or a recently concluded investigation. So, you know, this could be a sign that what the investigators know the evidence shows about Donald Trump's behavior may be far more dramatic than even we imagined. Now, we have all suspected it's more dramatic than Barr's sort of instantly clearing and summarily clearing the President of obstruction, which makes no sense after Mueller himself said he could not exonerate the President. We all suspected something was amiss there. We don't want to speculate what's in that report....I think if Barr was covering it up and downplaying it, that is going to spell more problems and not less for the administration.  

While discouraging speculation, Kirschner added that this could be an attempt by “the President and his people trying to put false information in the public square, trying to poison the well of public opinion.”

Ah yes, presumably this is the part of the story that could be entitled The Tin-Foil Hat Wearers Strike Back.

Mimi Rocah is someone else who’s been able to cash in legal hot takes to satisfy liberals clamoring for the President and his team to be led out in handcuffs, so Matthews went next to her but first gushed: “Really, amazing, maybe it took all these weeks to get the truth, but it's coming out.”

Yikes.


Rocah obliged by echoing Kirschner, insisting that “this is what a lot of us have been saying since the day Barr released that letter” that Barr couldn’t be trusted on, well, anything.

Matthews had to get back in, telling Swalwell that “maybe we’re going to find some amazing information out here that has nothing to do with whether they caught the President with a capital crime or not.” Translation? He’s still hoping for collusion.

At no point did Matthews or any guest care to note that none of The Times’s anonymous sourcing was first-hand from ths special counsel’s team or what any specific gripe was with Barr’s letters.

Instead, Kirschner doubled down and defended Mueller’s team of liberals (click “expand”):

And here is what that tension is being produced by. Mueller and his team of investigators and career, public servants who are not 13 angry Democrats. They are independent, hardworking, most of them career public servants who are all about investigating fairly and fully and getting to the truth of the matter. So if you have a team of law enforcement agents and prosecutors who have worked 22 months to get at the truth of the matter and then they see their investigation being misrepresented and their findings and conclusions being twisted and contorted by an attorney general with his own agenda to protect the President, that's where the tension comes in and I got to tell you, I believe once this report comes out, the truth will be out and it doesn't look, at the moment, like it's going to end well for Barr. 

Teeing him up one last time, Matthews offered another slobbery kiss for The Times: “This story keeps breaking on us when we think we’ve got to the bottom. The New York Times has been incredible. No matter, no wonder Trump hates them. They keep breaking this stuff out.”

To close the show, Matthews bizarrely invoked the issue of Trump’s tax returns: “Mnuchin is going to be of no help in getting the tax returns because he’s part of that army of toadies now in the executive branch. This is an embarrassing executive branch now.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on April 3, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
April 3, 2019
7:48 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: More on that breaking news. A bombshell of news from The New York Times tonight on the Mueller report. I'm rejoined by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, who’s on the Intelligence Committee. Let me ask you the key committee you’re on tonight. Congressman, this is amazing. Now it comes out that what a lot of us suspected, I’m sure you did too, Mueller had more to say than Barr wanted us to hear. 

CONGRESSMAN ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Chris, this shows why we need to get the report as soon as possible. The fact that investigators would express this concern shows the imminence of the situation. Stepping back, this whole investigation launched because a foreign adversary attacked us. Russia attacked us. There’s questions about people in the Trump campaign and administration and transition who worked with them and those are unresolved and if we’re going to protect ourselves in the next election, I think this is a, you know, clarion call that we better get this report and get to work. 

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go over a couple of concerns raised by this report. One is that there’s more in it that is troubling about Donald Trump. What is that saying to you? Trouble for him that never came out through this four-page summary by his attorney general. 

SWALWELL: It shows that we have always been skeptical about someone who would solicit this job in a 19-page letter and then write a summary of a two-year investigation that produced 37 indictments and six guilty pleas and 500 search warrants and would only summarize that with a four-page letter that had 84 words from the 400 page report, so we should be skeptical of that and demand the full report. 

MATTHEWS: And the second point raised by the letter was that — the — Robert Mueller and his team never imagined nor did they want it to happen that the attorney general would put a quickie weekend version of their 400 page report before the American public which shaped public opinion that the President was off, that he was exonerated on the issue of collusion and it was 50-50 on the other one on obstruction. Apparently that wasn’t the right shape that Mueller intended the public to get when they got the first word on this report. 

SWALWELL: And Chris, we are going to get that report now and should not rely solely on the attorney general’s spin. Again, he should not have been confirmed by the Senate because of his bias. He should have recused himself and not been allowed himself, with that bias to make that decision. And again, my fear is that the rule of law in this country erode in this country when people can't have faith on an independent department of justice and, instead, you get an attorney who seeks to protect the President rather than to protect the ballot box. 

MATTHEWS: Let me — hold on, Congressman. Let’s go to Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor. Glenn, The New York Times is reporting some of Mueller’s team — his investigators — “have told associates that Attorney General William Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr” allowed. My thought — well, I think a lot of us thought the genius us of Barr was first impressions. When you meet somebody, you get a strong first impression. When the American people got the Mueller report, they didn't get the Mueller report. They got the Barr report and they got a strong impression that this President got scot free. 

GLENN KIRSCHNER: Yeah, Chris. Here’s what I’ll say. You know, FBI agents are usually vault-like in their refusal to step outside their lane and talk about a pending investigation or a recently concluded investigation. So, you know, this could be a sign that what the investigators know the evidence shows about Donald Trump's behavior may be far more dramatic than even we imagined. Now, we have all suspected it's more dramatic than Barr's sort of instantly clearing and summarily clearing the President of obstruction, which makes no sense after Mueller himself said he could not exonerate the President. We all suspected something was amiss there. We don't want to speculate what's in that report, but I think as Congressman Swalwell was saying, the good news is, one way or another, Congress is going to see the report, the people are going to see this report and, you know, I think if Barr was covering it up and downplaying it, that is going to spell more problems and not less for the administration. 

MATTHEWS: And this is another point in the report tonight by The New York Times which people read tomorrow morning. The point is that he didn't, Mr. Barr and his team did not think that Mr. Barr was going to come racing out 48 hours later with their assum — with their report. That four-page summary. They thought it would take a while to get out or get it redacted or whatever. They had no idea the attorney general was going to make this presentation that Sunday night. 

KIRSCHNER: Yeah, I'll tell you, Chris, it was so surprising when you read in one sentence that Mueller cannot exonerate the President and Barr without legal reasoning, without any analysis and without any factual support included in his — in his letter he says let me jump out and clear the President even though Mueller can't based on the evidence. You know, that looks like yet another variation on the President and his people trying to put false information in the public square, trying to poison the well of public opinion and get people thinking, well, I guess there has been clearance of both conspiracy and obstruction and what happens when the Mueller report comes out and then public opinion is going to have to dig out of the hole in which Barr and Trump has put it. So, maybe that's the game here. But I’ll tell you. If it's a game, I think Barr is going to be exposed. 

MATTHEWS: We’re talking about The New York Times story breaking just tonight. It’ll be in the paper tomorrow, but it’s out tonight. It’s basically that the Mueller people, the investigators who talked to The Times have said they were not happy with the way that Mr. Barr, the attorney general presented their report in that four-page summary. There was more troubling information about that, about the President that did not get through. Let’s spin — that's a big part of the story. Let me go to Mimi Rocha right now. Mimi, what do you make of this? Really, amazing, maybe it took all these weeks to get the truth, but it's coming out. 

MIMI ROCAH: Well, yeah, Chris, and I was on your show earlier and I think I said the facts are not good for Donald Trump when they come out and this is what a lot of us have been saying since the day Barr released that letter. We can't just look at Barr's conclusions, we need to see all the facts, whatever they are. Mueller did not write a 400 or whatever pages report just to say, you know, nothing here to see. He investigated this, you know, for almost two years and there are going to be facts in there that are probably good and bad for the President, but they all need to come out. And Barr has, you know, inserted himself in this process and putting out that conclusion at the point where we didn't have all the facts, was absolutely the wrong thing to do as Congressman Swalwell said, it just — it looked so political and he should have stayed out of it and let the faxes come out when it was time for the whole report to come out. 

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to the Congressman. Eric Swalwell, you’re a member of the Intelligence Committee and this is something that came out over the last couple of weeks before the breaking news tonight that Mueller's people aren’t happy with the way Barr presented their information after all these two years and that is that we need to know a lot more about whether a guy should go to jail or be impeached or not. We got a counterintelligence piece to this and I think that, like the Kerner report, the Warren report, all these commission reports over the years have been meant to help the American people understand what happened and I think that's the thing that maybe we’re going to find some amazing information out here that has nothing to do with whether they caught the President with a capital crime or not. Your thoughts? 

SWALWELL: There is a difference, Chris, between being charged criminally and not rising to the level of conduct that we want in the President of the United States, who oversees our military, who knows the deepest secrets of our government that protects our troops. And if there is a compromise that the situation that he’s in with the Russians or that people on his team have put themselves in, we need to know. But again, this is always about the future and I think we have to talk about it this way. We have an election coming up. An adversary in Russia just as determined and if we can't see what's in that report, we can't protect the American people from another interference campaign. 

MATTHEWS: Glenn, I want to finish with a question which I haven't been able to get to, but one of the parts — one of the points in The New York Times report tonight which, again, will be in the paper tomorrow is that there’s tension between the Mueller operation which is a two-year operation and the Johnny Come Laties of William Barr and his people. What do you know about that? They don’t happy [sic] — the Mueller people are not happy with the Barr people. 

KIRSCHNER: Yeah, you know what? And here is what that tension is being produced by. Mueller and his team of investigators and career, public servants who are not 13 angry Democrats. They are independent, hardworking, most of them career public servants who are all about investigating fairly and fully and getting to the truth of the matter. So if you have a team of law enforcement agents and prosecutors who have worked 22 months to get at the truth of the matter and then they see their investigation being misrepresented and their findings and conclusions being twisted and contorted by an attorney general with his own agenda to protect the President, that's where the tension comes in and I got to tell you, I believe once this report comes out, the truth will be out and it doesn't look, at the moment, like it's going to end well for Barr. 

MATTHEWS: Mimi, I want to go to you in the last question tonight, which is the Supreme Court. Because I’ve lived through Watergate and the rest of this stuff for many years and I always think these cases are going to come down to somebody has to break the tie between the executive and the legislature here. Do you think the Supreme Court, even though it's a 5-4 appointed-Republican Supreme Court, do you think they will say the American people need to see the report? 

ROCAH: I do, Chris. I mean, look, I probably have an oversized faith in the judiciary more than most people, but I believe at the end of the day that judges believe in information and truth coming out and it’s this fact that this now smells more like a cover up I think is going to weigh more in favor of that kind of a rule. 

MATTHEWS: Congressman, do you think Barr will cut his losses now before he gets villainized completely here and he says, okay, look at the report. Put out the report now? 

SWALWELL: Just come forward now with the full report. I mean, it's clear that there are questions about Barr's evaluation of the report. The best thing you can do for transparency, for the rule of law is to just give us the report now and let Congress go through it and give it to the American people. 

MATTHEWS: Glenn, your thought tonight? This story keeps breaking on us when we think we’ve got to the bottom. The New York Times has been incredible. No matter, no wonder Trump hates them. They keep breaking this stuff out. 

KIRSCHNER: Yeah and I agree with Mimi. I also can be accused of having an oversized faith in the judiciary which has proved time and again that they are not going to be, you know, some kind of a lackey for the President that appointed them. So, I think, ultimately the Supreme Court will get it right if they’re asked to pass on it. But even more importantly, I think what we learned today, Chris, has all but guaranteed the entire report’s going to come out. It’s going to come out sooner rather than later and Barr may have just made one of his worst miscalculations.

MATTHEWS: Yeah and I think Mnuchin is going to be of no help in getting the tax returns because he’s part of that army of toadies now in the executive branch. This is an embarrassing executive branch now. 

NBDaily Mueller Report Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Hardball New York Times Washington Post Video Robert Mueller Chris Matthews Donald Trump Bill Barr
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links